The history of fracking dates all the way back to 1947. But what is fracking, and how does it work? Here we’ll answer some of the basic questions about fracking and debunk some of the more common myths.

What is fracking?

Simply put, fracking allows companies to produce more oil and natural gas. The process involves injecting water deep into the ground to crack rock, which allows more oil or natural gas to flow. On average, the process only takes about three to five days to complete. Once the well is “completed," it is ready to produce oil and natural gas for years to come.

What's in fracking fluid?

Over 99 percent of the fluid is water and sand. The other additives are things you’ll also find under your kitchen sink. One of the most prevalent additives is guar, which is an emulsifying agent that’s also found in ice cream, toothpaste, and numerous other products.

Does fracking cause tap water to catch on fire?

No. This rumor started with the anti-fracking film Gasland, which showed a man in Colorado lighting his faucet on fire and blaming fracking. Before the film was released, however, Colorado regulators had investigated the case and determined it had nothing to do with oil and gas development. In many places, people have been able to light their tap water on fire long before fracking was around, due to naturally occurring methane pockets.

Is fracking wasting water?

No. Fracking only accounts for 0.1% of water use across the United States. Other energy sources require far more water, and scientists at the University of Texas have determined that increased natural gas use is actually helping our state use less water as we meet our growing energy needs. Interestingly, when natural gas is burned, it actually releases water vapor.

Can you ban fracking without banning all oil & gas development?

No. Fracking is used in approximately 95 percent of all oil and gas wells in the United States -- including here in North Texas. In fact, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that "wells in the Barnett Shale require fracture stimulation to produce." The Court has also found that fracking is "essential" to the recovery of oil and gas.

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